Now, I pity Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.
I used to admire him for his manner of speaking that is in sharp contrast with the language of his principal. I used to be amused by his creativeness in dodging issues about President Duterte like telling media to use their “creative imagination” when Duterte contradicts himself or spews out outrageous claims and justifying the President’s lying about the bank deposits of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV as as matter of “style.”
But as reports of corruption and incompetence persist in the 15-month-old Duterte presidency, it’s not amusing anymore to listen to Abella talking about “Good governance being the North Star of the Duterte administration,” as he urged just-resigned Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima to shed light on his allegations of corruption in the agency.
Abella’s statement shows that he is not within the power circle in Malacañang. He is far from the snake pit that Salalima found himself in and decided to be out of it.
In his farewell talk with employees of the Department of Information and Communications Technology last week, Salalima, who was a schoolmate of Duterte, said that his deal with the President when he accepted the position of the new agency was “no interference, no corruption.”
Salalima, who was the lawyer of a telecommunication giant before he joined the Duterte administration, said, “I resisted pressures. On the issue of interference, it was not obeyed. Because of that, I had and must resign.”
The question in everybody’s mind is who interfered in Salalima’s job? And in what project?
The project we were told is the National Broadband Plan, which entails building of infrastructure nationwide to make the Philippines a digital nation.
It’s a huge, huge project.
It will be recalled that ten years ago, the Arroyo administration entered into a $329-million deal with the Chinese firm, ZTE Corp.
On April 21, 2007, the government signed the $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp. for the installation of a telecommunications network linking government offices throughout the country.
The deal, however was cancelled after it was exposed to be riddled with corruption involving Mike Arroyo, the former President’s husband and former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos.
Now, who is the Mike Arroyo or the Abalos in the implementation of the Duterte administration’s National Broadband Plan?
The name that we got is that of somebody very close to the President. He holds a top position. It can be said that he has the ears of the President.
He is always with the President making some people wonder how much time he has left for his office. Maybe next to Bong Go (no, it’s not Bong Go), the interfering official is the one most often seen with the President.
Salalima’s resignation is just a whiff that tells the public of something rotten inside the Duterte organization.
Let’s see how Abella is going to deodorize this.
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.